Applying outside the UK

Individuals issued with a Skilled Worker Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from the Staff Immigration Team need to submit a visa application for themselves and any dependants to the Home Office, to be issued a Skilled Worker visa.

The application process is described in the sections below.

A Skilled Worker CoS once issued is valid for 3 months. A visa application must be submitted before the date of expiry on the CoS. After this date the CoS will no longer be valid and cannot be used.

A visa application must also not be submitted more than 3 months before the start date listed on the CoS.

Dependants can apply at the same time as the main applicant, by submitting a separate visa application. Dependants cannot apply before the main applicant. They must either submit their application at the same time as the main applicant, after the main applicant has submitted their application, or after the main applicant’s visa has been granted.

Guidance and a link to the online application which will need to be completed can be found on the Home Office Skilled Worker 'Apply from outside the UK' page.

Any dependants must apply separately, and submit an individual application. Guidance and a link to the online application can be found on the Home Office Skilled Worker 'Your Partner and Children' page.

The online application forms should be intuitive, and only ask for information relevant to the application being made.

The Staff Immigration Team is happy to provide guidance on completing the application, and encourages applicants to email a downloaded PDF of the drafted application to be checked before submission. An application cannot be amended once the ‘Declaration’ section has been completed, so a draft PDF should be downloaded once the applicant reaches the ‘Document’ section.

Once they have carefully checked the details and submitted their application, the applicant will need to pay the visa application fee. 

If their CoS is for more than 6 months, the applicant and their dependants will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. This is a one-off payment that allows access to the National Health Service for the duration of the visa.

When the visa application and immigration health surcharge fees have been paid, two PDF documents are generated: the completed application form and a supporting evidence checklist.

These two PDFs should be sent to the Staff Immigration Team for future reference, and to help the team provide assistance if any issue with the application arises after submission.

Once the application is submitted, the applicant should be automatically directed to book a biometrics appointment at a Visa Application Centre in their country of residence. At this appointment, the applicant will enrol their biometrics (photographs and fingerprints), and submit their documents.

EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland nationals holding a biometric passport can use the 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app rather than attending an appointment.

The exact process may differ depending on country, so applicants are encouraged to check the Home Office guidance on how to apply for a UK visa in their country of residence.

Applicants and each of their dependents will incur a visa application fee, biometric enrolment fee, immigration health surcharge fee, and any additional fees for priority services.

A full table of costs can be found on the Skilled Worker costs page.

Visa application fees will vary depending on the length of the CoS, and whether the job is on the Shortage Occupation List

Applicants should note that many application fees, including the visa application fee and immigration health surcharge, are paid in US dollars, and they will be liable for any currency exchange fees.

See our guidance on the reimbursement of visa costs and the visa loan scheme webpages.

A Standard Skilled Worker visa application should be decided within 3 weeks of the application being submitted online and registering their biometric details. It may take longer to receive a decision if the applicant has had a prior visa refusal, or if the Home Office needs to request more information.

A Priority service visa application should be decided within 5 working days of the biometrics appointment.

Please note that the Home Office generally does not recommend that applicants with previous visa refusals use the Priority service.


Once their Skilled Worker application has been granted, the applicant should receive an Entry Clearance vignette (visa sticker) in their passport as well as a decision letter.

The visa sticker will be valid for around 30 days, and will allow the applicant to enter the UK within that period.

The decision letter will confirm the full dates for which the Skilled Worker visa has been granted, as well as the address of the Post Office from which their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) can be collected, and the date from which their BRP should be available for collection. This will be based on the applicant’s work location and intended travel date listed in their visa application.

Applicants will need to present their passport, visa sticker, and decision letter when collecting their BRP. An applicant must collect their BRP within 10 days, and could face a financial penalty and/or have their visa curtailed if they do not.

Further guidance on BRPs for overseas applicants can been found on the Home Office website.


EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland nationals, who have a biometric passport and used the 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app will instead have a digital immigration status, and will not receive a vignette or a BRP.

Delayed start date

If the applicants start date is delayed by more than 28 days, their sponsorship must be withdrawn unless there is a serious unavoidable reason for the delay. The start date listed on a Skilled Worker CoS can only be amended before the visa application is submitted by the individual. After this point, the 28 days limit on any delayed start would apply. Any delayed start dates should be communicated to the Staff Immigration Team.

Travelling to the UK as a Visitor

Once an applicant has submitted their Skilled Worker visa application, or after their Skilled Worker visa has been granted, they must not enter the UK as a Visitor (e.g. as a tourist). If they do, their Skilled Worker visa will no longer be valid, and they will not be able to start their employment. Any travel plans should be communicated to the Staff Immigration Team.

One the Skilled Worker visas has been issued the visa holder must only travel to the UK on or soon after the start date of their visa. Entering the UK before the Skilled Worker visa starts would be entering as a Visitor (e.g. as a tourist), they will not be able to start their employment, and will have to leave the UK to return on or soon after their visa start date before they can then start work.

Applicants with children

The Home Office has strict requirements for dependant children applicants (i.e. those under the age of 18), guidance for which can be found here.



The Staff Immigration Team cannot guarantee the successful outcome of any Skilled Worker visa application since this decision is made by the Home Office and not by the University.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they provide the correct supporting documents when submitting their visa application. Should the applicant submit their visa application after their CoS has expired, or fail to supply the correct supporting documents, their application will be refused, and their CoS can no longer be used.



Training for Administrators

The team runs regular training courses on Global Talent visa, Skilled Worker visa, Tier 5, Visitors and Right to Work



Forms & Guidance 

Download the forms and guidance documents



Contact us

Medical Sciences / Humanities / GLAM  / UAS / Continuing Education

Angelina Pelova, Email: 

Paul Deeble, Email:


MPLS / Social Sciences / Colleges

Lyn Davis, Email:

Richard Birt, Email: